The District Court for the Middle District of Florida recently held that defendant First American Title Insurance Company (“First American”) could maintain its breach of the utmost duty of good faith counterclaim against plaintiff Old Republic national Title Insurance Company (“Old Republic”), but that it could not countersue Old Republic for breach of contract. First American alleged that Old Republic breached the Reinsurance Agreement (“Agreement”) the parties shared by 1) paying First American under a reservation of rights to assert claims against First American, 2) disputing Old Republic’s obligation to pay First American, and 3) improperly trying to claw back the $3.8 million payment. The court held that First American’s claims were insufficient because the Agreement did not explicitly prohibit Old Republic’s actions, a necessary basis for a breach of contract claim. The court did, however, find sufficient First American’s claim that Old Republic breached the utmost duty of good faith. As the court noted, “generously construing First American’s allegations under this count in conjunction with its claim that Old Republic breached the Reinsurance Agreement by failing to pay its share of defense costs,” the pleaded facts for First American’s “utmost good faith” claim were sufficient to survive the motion to dismiss stage.
Old Republic Nat. Title Ins. Co. v. First American Title Ins. Co., No. 8:15-cv-126-T-30EAJ, 2015 WL 1530611 (USDC M.D. Fla. Apr. 6, 2015